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Al Fresco Dining American West Loop

City Hall, the West Loop’s newest gathering spot at 838 W. Kinzie St., has officially dubbed the bar Recess—for drinks, bar food, live music and laidback vibes. 

The 5,000-square-foot bar is adjacent to City Hall, the event venue that opened this spring in the same freestanding brick and timber building, and the new Recess name distinguishes it from the private event space where you may find yourself attending a wedding. 

“With Recess, our goal was to create an easygoing, down-to-earth, fun indoor/outdoor vibe for the West Loop neighborhood and beyond. This is a place for all Chicagoans,” says Andrew Ketcham, Recess’ General Manager.

The bar menu at Recess tips the hat to working and living in the city of Chicago. Large-format drinks, the bar’s signature, are wheeled out in tabletop-sized water coolers. Cocktails include classics like the Southside and ingredient-driven originals such as Alderman’s Choice, made with tequila, peppered watermelon syrup and lime.  

Of course, it wouldn’t be Chicago without “kickbacks”—in this case, a selection of shots offered individually and in flights.

Live music with an emphasis on classic rock and pop is an important part of Recess. Bands perform on Friday nights, DJs spin on select nights and the bar’s soundtrack plays tunes from the ‘60s through the ‘90s.

Also on the docket: Trivia Nights on Mondays, NFL and college football games on the big screens all season long with brunch specials starting at 11 a.m. and a variety of bar-top and patio games.

The food menu at Recess offers elevated bar food, from Pigs In A Blanket wrapped in housemade pastry to Grilled Cheese with bacon and poblano jam.

Awash in natural light, the bar area at Recess is anchored by a custom-made 40-foot wooden bar. Leather chairs, bar stools and tufted couches accent the casual space, while the building’s original bow truss ceiling adds vintage ambiance.


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